The Jharkhand health department is worried as it has run out of medicated mosquito nets and those it has are either torn or have lost their bug repellent qualities, said health officials on Tuesday.
They said the monsoon, when the cases of malaria and kala azar rise, is at its peak and the health department has no backup to save the rural and forest population where the chances of the diseases are relatively higher.
The state had last procured around 6.07 lakh special insecticide treated nets in 2011 for rural and forest inhabitants.
Malaria department’s procurement consultant Md Shamsuddin Ahmad said these nets lose their medicinal properties after four to five years and hence a requisition had been sent to the centre and the state. But, experts said the consignments might not land in time putting the rural population, specially the pregnant women, at high risk.
As per the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), Jharkhand had reported 103735 malarial cases, including 46448 cerebral malaria and eight deaths, in 2014. Till May 2015, the state has reported 21489 malarial and 9631 cerebral malarial cases.
There have been 518 cases of kala-aazar till May 2015 as per the NVBDCP.
The WHO says that if high community coverage of medicated nets is achieved the mosquitoes number and life will be reduced and when this happens the community is protected regardless of whether or not they use nets.
Chief minister Raghubar Das after experiencing a sting himself during a night stay in Saranda forest in West Singhbhum ordered immediate purchase of these nets from the state quota funds.
However, a malaria officer said that the officials were still trying to consolidate the number of the required nets and hence the purchase process was being delayed.
Principal secretary health department K Vidyasagar said the department was working out how fast to get these nets to the ground.
Director-in-chief of the Jharkhand health services, Sumant Mishra, said, “We have already drawn up a plan and it will be implemented soon. We awaiting our supplies form the Centre.”